Fordham Women’s Basketball Surges Late to Defeat George Washington, 48-43

Rams overcome shooting woes after two-week pause to win ninth straight game



Kendell Heremaia, FCRH ’21, attempts a basket during the Rams’ last matchup with the Colonials on Jan. 3, which Fordham won 53-47. The Rams pulled out a similarly narrow victory on March 4.


The Fordham women’s basketball team defeated George Washington University 48-43 on Thursday, March 4, to extend its winning streak to nine games. The Rams hadn’t competed in nearly three weeks, but they managed to shake off the dust late and secure a come-from-behind victory over the Colonials.

At nearly any point this season, a game between Fordham and George Washington would have heavily favored the Rams, who will enter the Atlantic 10 (A10) Tournament as a 2-seed on March 12. But in their nonconference game Thursday, the two teams were more evenly matched than they have been previously because of a key shift in the momentum of the season.

After winning eight straight games between Jan. 17 and Feb. 12, Fordham had to cancel its last five A10 conference games to adhere to the university’s two-week pause at the Rose Hill campus. George Washington was one of the scheduled opponents during that stretch, and without Fordham on their schedule, the Colonials had gone on their own four-game winning streak. After going 1-9 in the first 10 games of conference play, the team finished in 11th with a 5-9 record in the A10.

In their second lowest-scoring quarter of the season, the Rams shot seven more three-pointers and only made one.

Fordham was not dealing with the same bottom-dwelling team it had defeated back on Jan. 3, and Fordham’s players clearly weren’t at full strength after so much time off. The Rams only scored four points in the first five minutes of play, but their stout defense allowed them to hold a slim 10-8 lead at the end of the first quarter.

The second quarter was just as slow as the first for Fordham, largely due to the team’s struggles from beyond the arc. For a team accustomed to the highest three-point shooting percentage in the A10, shooting 1-for-8 from three through two quarters slowed the offense considerably. The defense began to crack toward the end of the half as well, and as the second buzzer sounded, the Rams trailed 21-20.

In the first 20 minutes of play, Fordham’s leading season scorer Anna DeWolfe, Fordham College at Rose Hill (FCRH) ’23, had only managed to score four points, while Kendell Heremaia, FCRH ’21, managed to salvage her point total with a late three in the second quarter. The team hadn’t yet kicked into gear, and a break at the half didn’t seem to help matters.

Fordham scored seven points in the third quarter, five of them coming from Heremaia. In their second lowest-scoring quarter of the season, the Rams shot seven more three-pointers and only made one. George Washington wasn’t playing particularly well either, but it didn’t take much for the Colonials to take a 33-27 lead entering the fourth quarter.

The primary cause of Fordham’s comeback is unclear, as the late swing in momentum may have come from several sources.

The players may have felt pressure from Head Coach Stephanie Gaitley, whose habit of pacing along the sideline only worsened as the team fell further and further behind. DeWolfe’s luck may have finally turned, as her shots began to fall at a torrent pace. Perhaps it was an offensive collapse from George Washington, who shot with 28% accuracy in the final 10 minutes. It’s possible, however, that there’s a more succinct answer: It was simply a matter of time.

The Rams closed out the Colonials by making seven of their last eight foul shots, securing the 48-43 victory in gritty fashion.

After scoring 27 points in the first three-quarters of play, Fordham scored 21 in the fourth alone. DeWolfe led the team through the first five minutes, scoring seven points and a key three-pointer to give Fordham a one-point lead, 36-35. From there, Heremaia caught fire, scoring on two late shots to extend the lead to four points.

George Washington fought to the end, but in a game that came down to free throws, Fordham would not be denied. The Rams closed out the Colonials by making seven of their last eight foul shots, securing the 48-43 victory in gritty fashion. After the game, Gaitley admired her players’ resolve after so much time off the court.

“It was great to get on the court against a very hot GW (George Washington) team,” Gaitley said. “We were rusty and this game helped us a great deal to work through some things. I’m glad we were able to get this game under our belt!”

DeWolfe and Heremaia, combined, scored 33 of Fordham’s 48 points. After scoring four through 30 minutes, DeWolfe finished the night with 14, while Heremaia carried the team for most of the game, scoring 19 points on 10 shots in one of her best performances of the season. 

Unless more postponed games are rescheduled for next week, Fordham will now begin to prepare for the A10 Tournament. As a 2-seed behind Dayton University, the Rams will automatically move on to the quarterfinals, where they will play the winner of a game between 7-seed University of Massachusetts and 10-seed Saint Joseph’s University. If they win, they will likely move on to play 3-seed Saint Louis University.

Should the Rams win that game, they would only need two more victories to capture their third A10 Championship since 2014. It’s a long road ahead, and the team will need to improve from its most recent game. But if their victory against the Colonials is any indication, the Rams possess the determination necessary to take on the very best the A10 has to offer.